A Multitude of Immigrants


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From The World newspaper, June 18, 1904:


Eight Great Steamers, Crowded with Steerage Passengers,
Will Be Unloaded at Ellis Island During the Day.

The Ellis Island officials are making elaborate preparations to-day for what they expect will be one of the biggest crushes of immigrants that they have had to deal with in years.

Eight immigrant carrying ships will come in to-morrow, many of them from Mediterranean ports, and the advance information is that their steerage room is choked with men, women and children. Besides this several steamers are looked for to-night whose immigrants cannot be landed until to-morrow, so that, altogether, the officials at Ellis Island will have a hard time of it.

Commissioner Williams said to-day that it was a little early yet to feel the effect of the cut rates for steerage passengers. By Tuesday or Wednesday of next week the first of the great horde of cheap immigrants that is expected will get in here, and what is expected to be the hardest summer in the history of the Immigration Department will really begin.


The Savoie, from Havre, and the Panonia, from Gibraltar, got in to-day and brought 1,400 immigrants. This is a little below the figures for the corresponding Saturday a year ago, but Mr. Williams says it is only the calm before the storm. Those who went through the Ellis Island inspection today were about the usual type. None of them had bought his ticket for this country after the cut rate went into effect.

Some idea of the business the Ellis Island people will have on their hands to-morrow can be gathered from a list of the ships which will empty their steerages to-night and to-morrow. The St. Louis will get in to-night from Southampton, the Etruria from Liverpool, the Bleucher from Hamburg, the Arabic from Liverpool, the Gallia from Naples, the Adria from Christians and, the Columbia from Glasgow, the Bremen from Bremen and the Frieda from Gibraltar.


The number of immigrants that these steamers will turn over to Ellis Island is estimated to run up into the thousands. No estimate can be made of them now, but Mr. Williams says that he has been informed that the ships from Naples, from Christiansand and from Gibraltar are fairly jammed with people.

Ellis Island is used to handling large numbers of immigrants and will not have serious trouble in dealing with the situation to-morrow, no matter how large it is. But next week is what Mr. Williams and his assistants fear. There is no doubt in their minds that the cut rate will bring an enormous number of immigrants here, many of them of an undesirable class. However, there are regulations and they will be strictly lived up to. If the big steamers bring people here who do not come up to the standard of what the United States believes is desirable in citizens, they will have the pleasure of taking them back again at their own expense.




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